The case for whole milk gets stronger

Bottle and glass of milk with straws, wooden background

Imagine you are an American 5th grader in a public elementary school. It’s lunch time and you walk up to the counter to pick your drink. What are your choices? Low-fat milk, non-fat chocolate milk. Where is the whole milk? Nowhere to be found.

This is one of the many impacts the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have on the choices our children have. But are they justified?

A new study provides even more evidence that the low-fat dairy emphasis is misguided. A meta-analysis of observational studies involving over 20,000 children concluded that those who drank whole-fat milk were almost 40% less likely to be obese than those who drank low-fat milk.

Our usual caveats still apply. These were not randomized controlled trials so they do not prove that low-fat milk causes obesity or that whole-fat milk protects against obesity. The 40% lower incidence of obesity is a relative risk reduction, not an absolute risk reduction. So, we do need to exercise caution with our interpretation of this study.

One conclusion, however, stands out as particularly important. This study makes it difficult to say the reverse: that whole-fat milk causes obesity and needs to be avoided. Thus, if a large study shows whole-fat milk consumption is NOT associated with obesity, why not provide whole milk as a choice in our public schools? We don’t need to mandate it, as the dietary guidelines have mandated low-fat milk (in the absence of data), but this study certainly suggests that whole milk should be an option.

As long as governments feel they need to control what their citizens eat, they need to be open to views opposing the current norm. This study illuminates the lack of evidence for eliminating whole milk, but we could make the same case for meat, fat, eggs, and so much more. At Diet Doctor, we will continue to be a voice of reason promoting low-carb, full-fat food as a path to health and happiness for many, and we appreciate your support in our journey.

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher MD FACC


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